20 Years of Creative Freedom

Let’s celebrate the 20 year anniversary of Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle. Born in the year 2000, as the result of Frédéric Malle’s mission to restore the dignity of haute parfumerie. A desire to return to the fundamentals of the craft: its authors, the perfumers, their expertise, exceptional ingredients, and an artistic approach to perfumery. Born into the world of perfume (his grandfather was the founder of Parfums Christian Dior) and with more than thirty years of experience behind him, Frédéric Malle is the world’s greatest perfumery expert. The greatest perfumers in the world have placed their confidence in him, joining forces with him in this venture, delighted at the opportunity to exercise total creative freedom, and to be able to sign their work with their own name. No marketing brief. The freedom to compose: no restriction on either quantity or quality of ingredients. Freedom from time constraints: no schedule; all that counts is the excellence of the result.

Why «Editions de Parfums»? Because Frédéric Malle works with perfumers the same way a literary editor works with his authors. Since they speak the same language and share technical expertise, Frédéric Malle is able to push perfumers to give their very best. They interact on a technical and an artistic level—no brief, no images, no following trends or targeting consumers.

Frédéric Malle’s design for the bottles.

Once finished, the perfumes are presented in a neutral flask, in elegant packaging reminiscent of the book covers of Gallimard—the most celebrated French publishing house—bearing evocative names such as Portrait of a Lady, Carnal Flower, Musc Ravageur, En Passant, Vétiver Extraordinaire, French Lover, Dans Tes Bras…. All signed by the greatest perfumers in the profession, including Dominique Ropion, Jean-Claude Ellena, Pierre Bourdon, Carlos Benaïm, Maurice Roucel and Edmond Roudnitska.

Frédéric Malle and his famous noses

For Frédéric Malle, perfumes are far more than a fashion accessory or a way to promote a brand image. Beyond ensuring the excellence of every juice, his ambition is to enable everyone to find the perfume or perfumes that perfectly suit their personality. To aid in this discovery, the advisors who staff the boutiques are Perfume Experts, qualified to give personalized consultations. Their goal is to help customers find the perfume in the collection that suits them best. Because these perfumes are all different, each one unique, they offer the greatest freedom of choice and expression for everyone, depending on their current desires, the season, their way of life, or even their next rendezvous. An invisible but powerful way to express one’s style and singularity.

Inside Frédéric Malle’s first boutique at 37 rue de Grenelle in Paris.

On June 6, 2000, Frédéric Malle opened his first Paris boutique at 37 rue de Grenelle. At a time when the self-service sale of perfumes was on the rise, Malle chose to open a boutique that would provide a luxurious setting for the perfumes he «publishes,» and to make sure to offer each visitor a personal experience. This pioneering boutique, conceived by architect Andrée Putman and Frédéric Malle, is a hybrid space combining the aesthetics and intimate comfort of a Parisian interior with the expertise of a perfume laboratory.

«Smelling columns» 

The boutiques of Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle, each with its own distinctive architecture, offer a series of interpretations of this overarching idea—at once a welcoming apartment and a perfume laboratory, where you will find the same iconic features of the house: portraits of perfumers in the style of the photos of authors found in bookstores, refrigerated cabinets in which the flasks of perfumes are kept at just the right temperature (as in a laboratory), consultation spaces, and the famous and unique «smelling columns.» A patented design by Frédéric Malle himself, the smelling columns are like olfactive mirrors, allowing one to experience the complete tableau of a perfume, its entire sillage. Each in their own way, the boutiques express their founder’s quest for aesthetics, functionality, and an avant-garde approach.
As a designer, renowned expert, and art lover, Frédéric Malle heads up the design of each boutique personally, working with carefully chosen architects.

Jakob + MacFarlane and Frédéric Malle joined forces to defy the laws of nature with a sea of floating islands, suspended in time and space inside their Paris store, 13 Rue des Francs Bourgeois.

2020 marks a historic date for the house: Twenty years of audacity and creativity. Twenty years of shifting paradigms in the exacting world of perfumery. From today, and for the rest of the year, Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle will share a series of events to celebrate this anniversary.

This week marks a new step for the house with the opening of its first boutique in China, at Shanghai’s luxurious IFC Mall, as well as a counter to open soon afterwards at SKP in Beijing. These two sales outlets see the debut of a new concept, with resolutely modern architecture, redesigned «smelling columns» with enhanced functionality, and an interactive tool to help customers select their perfume. EDPFM’s powerful fusion of ideas brought together in a new experiential space, to be rolled out internationally over the coming months.

Special Instagram Live streams will take place @fredericmalle, a window into the artistic, cinematic, and cultural influences of the founder. The perfumers of Editions de Parfums will be honored and will freely share their knowledge and their thoughts in live conversations. From September, you can also flick through the Editions online, with the launch of its new digital magazine.

Returning from the summer vacation, the house will present an entirely new Limited Edition of its iconic flasks and perfumes, restyled in anniversary colors. Seven of the most popular perfumes from the collection will be presented in new flasks, their cases elegantly clad with a frieze that tells the story of twenty years of creation.

She is languid in the bath, as on a chaise longue, as though she is taking in the sun, as though taking in Bizet, a glint with water and steam, maybe with a book in her hands, surrounded by billowing clouds of foam. Alone, of course—this is a private pleasure. She sinks into the voluptuous waters: a generous measure of rose and a mixture of amber, patchouli, and sandalwood, one might think the scent was carved in her likeness. She abandons herself to it, and it to her. She loves the intimate resonance of its perfume, dream-distilled. Perhaps it is she who is scenting the waters.

And she steps out reborn from the spume, trailing the note of this suspended moment.

The newest product you shouldn’t miss is this new addition to Editions de Parfum Frédéric Malle’s bestseller created by Dominique Ropion and Frédéric Malle:

Portrait of a Lady – The Foam Bath
Available now for €110.

PORTRAIT OF A LADY
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Top Note
: Rose
Middle Notes: Blackcurrant, Raspberry, Clove
Base Notes: Patchouli, Sandalwood, Frankincense

TO SHOP LES EDITIONS de PARFUMS FREDERIC MALLE ONLINE, CLICK HERE PLEASE.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Sandra Bauknecht and Les Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle
DISCLOSURE: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning when you click the links and make a purchase, we receive a commission.

Spiritual Glamour and Flowerbomb Midnight

Blurring the lines between art and fashion, Dutch icons Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren constantly push the boundaries of conceptual design. Last season, we’ve all seen the showstopping, statement-making couture gowns walk down the runway demanding ‘no photos please’ or just simply saying ‘NO’. The S/S 2019 couture show, titled «Fashion Statements», presented those language memes in tiers of tulle and had an outstanding viral response.

Backstage with Viktor & Rolf last week in Paris

But how to top this collection? I was curious. Last week I was invited to their F/W 2019 Haute Couture show in Paris not only to see the new breathtaking défilé, called «Spiritual Glamour» but also to experience the connection between art, fashion and beauty. The mission? To make the world a better place.

When I went backstage before the show, I experienced their unmistakable artistic craftsmanship first hand, which can also be found in their iconic fragrance Flowerbomb which got a new addition to the perfume family with Flowerbomb Midnight, a mysterious, floral and sensual facet, enveloped for the first time in a sumptuous radical black bottle. Spellbinding and captivating, sparkling and intimate, this eau de parfum for women celebrates midnight, a moment of transformation where women can let their sensuality explode.

Flowerbomb Midnight is a long-lasting floral-chypre-fruity perfume, an olfactory bomb of sensuality designed around night-blooming jasmine. Also called «queen of the night,» this mysterious flower only blooms and reveals her captivating scent when the day falls. Layered with the intoxicating second-skin patchouli and musk accord, vanilla and praline, it gives Flowerbomb Midnight its tremendous depth and contrast. The powerful fruity notes of blackcurrant and pomegranate accord sparkle while bergamot adds a fresh, zesty note enhanced by spicy, aromatic pink pepper. This mouth watering new fragrance was created by four famous noses, Dominique Ropion, Domitille Michalon-Bertier, Carlos Benaïm and Fanny Bal. In Switzerland, Flowerbomb Midnight is exclusively available at MARIONNAUD.

On the runway, Viktor & Rolf showed magical dresses for the «queen of the night». The moon, the stars, the sun appeared as applications and addition to their futuristic fabrics. With the help of Claudy Jongstra, who has been developing her own textiles over decades, Viktor & Rolf created a collection that is different, almost an epiphany for the fashion savvy.

The artist has her own biodynamic dye garden in the Northern Netherlands where she produces botanical pigments to create dyes for the final artisanal touches to these extraordinary pieces. She is even raising rare Drenthe Heath sheeps, reimagines and reconstructs textile production systems, demonstrating deep respect for the interwoven narratives of materials, landscape, and making processes. A highly innovative artist, Claudy Jongstra has created new territory for wool as a contemporary artistic medium, captured and processed by the designer duo Viktor & Rolf.

The collaboration is outstanding as both partners treat couture like a laboratory and show that haute couture is not outdated yet. That it can be a leader in terms of sustainability.

Furthermore, «spiritual glamour» can be found everywhere, in a rare flower used in a scent, in a fabric that creates a gown or in an artist that wants to make the world a better place with his or her designs. The world of fashion, art and beauty are all interlinked, it is up to us how we want to transport the message ourselves. Let’s drop a bombshell and be our own muses.

Celebrity spotlight at the show: Miss Fame and Christina Aguilera, both boasting the Viktor & Rolf’s unapologetic irreverent slogans and unmistakable artistic craftsmanship from the S/S 2019 Haute Couture collection.

Enjoy more of my impressions below, especially my favorite moment at the end when I met Christina Aguilera.

LoL, Sandra

I got a little shaky… so excited to meet the singer in person!

Everything before a fashion show is last minute.

Personally speaking seeing the craftsmanship and outstanding fabrics so close…

… was a true pleasure and makes you appreciate the work of couture even so much more.

I love watching the make-up artists doing their job.

The eye make-up was outstanding.

Belgian make-up artist Peter Philips, who is currently the creative and image director of Christian Dior makeup, doing the final check-up of the model’s look.

Lots of L’ORÉAL hair spray and fake hair needed for the volume.

Photos: © Sandra Bauknecht 

Dinner with Frédéric Malle

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Lately, I was invited by Perfumery Osswald in Zurich and had the amazing honor to have dinner with Frédéric Malle, a very captivating and inspirational gentleman, a father of four, and the man behind the niche fragrance house Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle. Born in 1962, he grew up immersed in the world of perfumery (his grandfather Serge Heftler-Louiche founded Christian Dior Perfumes, and Frédéric’s mother later worked as an Art Director for the same perfume house) and has a deep knowledge of raw materials, fragrance structure and accords that he shared with me that night. His ‘Editions’ collection includes scents by distinguished noses including Dominique Ropion, Jean-Claude Ellena and Pierre Bourdon.

IMG_0198With Frédéric Malle at dinner at the Widder hotel.

Malle studied art history and economics at New York University. In 1988, he began his career at Roure Bertrand Dupont, the prestigious perfume laboratory. After working in the industry for more than 12 years, Frederic was ready to embark on a new adventure.

Frederic_Malle_20004 of his first launched perfumes in 2000: Lipstick Rose (Ralf Schwieger), Musc Ravager (Maurice Roucel), En Passant (Olivia Giacobetti) and Une Fleur de Cassie (Dominique Ropion).

In 2000, using his connections and experience in the industry, Frédéric invited nine top perfumers to design their own original perfumes with no restrictions, not even financially regarding their ingredients they chose. Thanks to Frédéric Malle, the return to luxury perfumery took place at the beginning of our century. In an era in which most companies put more importance on brand names, Malle brought the attention back to the product itself: perfume.

Until today, through a simple “back to basics” approach, Editions de Parfums is challenging all prevailing trends. Frédéric Malle’s contribution to the creation of the different fragrances sold under Editions de Parfums varies depending on the perfumers’ desire. Perfumers appeal to him to assess their work in progress and to share ideas.

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These fragrances are packaged in bottles that feature the name of the perfumer—a first in the industry, where the perfumer is traditionally behind the scenes and credit for the scent is given to the fashion house or celebrity on the bottle. While we were talking during dinner, I could sense that Frédéric Malle is very fond of Dominique Ropion‘s work. The two of them seem to build an amazing team.

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The development of a signature scent is a lengthy process, generally lasting between 6 and 18 months. Each fragrance starts with an idea, an “olfactive sketch,” which can either take the form of a material base – the mix of two or three raw materials, like colors in an abstract painting – or of an initial feeling, the desire to translate or convey a specific emotion. From there, the perfumers gradually build a full-scale composition, tinkering and problem-solving until a perfect balance is achieved. The challenge is to polish and perfect without losing the impact and personality of the original idea.

Eliminate all that is superfluous or merely decorative” – this, Frédéric Malle’s credo, is the only rule imposed on the house perfumers. Malle requests that each fragrance be designed to uniquely merge with the wearer’s skin rather than to just be a “pretty scent.”

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Designer Frédéric Malle has more than 25 perfumes available at the moment, made in collaboration with perfumers Jean-Claude Ellena, Dominique Ropion, Maurice Roucel, Bruno Jovanovic, Carlos Benaim, Olivia Giacobetti, Pierre Bourdon, Edmond Roudnitska, Ralf Schwieger, Edouard Flechier, Michel Roudnitska and Sophia Grojsman.

Frederic-Malle_Downstairs-finalNew investments under the new helmet: Frédéric Malle’s London store at 14, Burlington Arcade.

Two years ago, The Estée Lauder Companies acquired Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle.

Frédéric Malle said about his decision to sell part of his company: “The Estée Lauder Companies has great respect for the art of perfumery and for the creativity, dedication and mastery required to create truly exceptional fragrance experiences. The company’s commitment to a high standard of excellence and ability to support the growth of entrepreneurial concepts in a way that preserves all that is unique and special makes The Estée Lauder Companies the ideal partner for us.

A truly inspirational creator and a real business man!

TO SHOP FREDERIC MALLE ONLINE, CLICK HERE PLEASE.
In Switzerland a large selection is available at Perfumery Osswald in Zurich.

LoL, Sandra

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Photos: Courtesy of Frédéric Malle and © Sandra Bauknecht, via Mr Porter